Amazon to close Tukwila warehouse, impacting hundreds of workers

May 31, 2024, 2:32 PM

Image: Boxes move down a conveyor belt during a tour of the Amazon fulfillment center Thursday, May...

Boxes move down a conveyor belt during a tour of the Amazon fulfillment center on Thursday, May 3, 2018, in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo: David Zalubowski, AP)

(Photo: David Zalubowski, AP)

Amazon is shutting down a warehouse in Tukwila and the closure will affect hundreds of employees.

The Washington State Employment Security Department’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) showed Friday 172 employees will be impacted by an upcoming “closure.” The department reports the “layoff start date” as Aug. 1.

In a statement sent to KIRO Newsradio Friday afternoon, Amazon spokesperson Sam Stephenson confirmed the Tukwila warehouse will be closing while also emphasizing that despite the company’s decision to shutter the facility, existing employees will have the opportunity to move to other locations.

“We’re always evaluating our network to make sure it fits our business needs and to improve the experience for our employees, customers, partners, and drivers,” Stephenson said. “As part of that effort, we may close older sites, enhance existing facilities, or open new sites, and we weigh a variety of factors when deciding where to develop future sites or maintain a presence.  In this case, employees at our Tukwila facility are being offered opportunities to transfer to other facilities nearby, or support if they choose not to stay with Amazon.”

Amazon also confirmed that is working with employees to “accommodate their scheduling preferences during this process.”

The company also stated it will fulfilling customer orders from its existing sites.

Expedia cuts: 208 Washington employees included in round of layoffs

As Geekwire noted in its coverage, Amazon employs 75,000 people in the Seattle region, many of them corporate and tech workers. The online retail giant’s workforce has reached 1.52 million people around the world with a headcount rise of 4% year-over-year, as of March 31.

On a call with reporters in April following the company’s first quarter earnings release, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said the year-over-year growth in headcount was mainly driven by its warehouse-related operations, Geekwire stated.

Recent Amazon layoffs

Amazon laid off 27,000 corporate workers in the first half of 2023 in various areas of the company.  However, warehouse jobs weren’t affected in those cuts of workers. The company’s workforce doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic in the midst of a hiring surge across almost the entire tech sector, The Associated Press explained. Other tech companies announced tens of thousands of job cuts last year as well.

National trend: Electronic Arts cutting about 5% of workforce with layoffs ongoing in gaming, tech sector

At the beginning of this year, Twitch, which also is owned by Amazon, said it had plans to cut more than 500 jobs in a bid to save on costs. The video streaming platform’s CEO Dan Clancy said in an email to employees that even with cost cuts and growing efficiency, the platform “is still meaningfully larger than it needs to be given the size of our business.”

Amazon-owned online audiobook and podcast service Audible also stated at the beginning this year it had plans to conduct layoffs, about 5% of its workforce. In a memo sent to employees, Audible CEO Bob Carrigan said that the company is in good shape, but faces an “increasingly challenging landscape.” In addition, Amazon’s Prime Video and MGM Studios unit, is trimming hundreds of employees as it cuts back in areas that are not delivering.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Steve Coogan is the lead editor of MyNorthwest. You can read more of his stories here. Follow Steve on X, or email him here.

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